Potential buyer viewing home cannot sue realtor who accompanied him to home viewing
Michael Davies suffered severe injuries, including multiple fractures, when he fell four feet in an unlit garage during a home viewing. He sued the realtor and her company, arguing that they owed a duty to protect him from injury when he entered the darkened garage with the four-foot drop off. The realtor pointed out that Davis had been warned about the fact that there was no power to the house and that she had never inspected it, herself. Thus, she had warned Davies of the only hazards she knew of.
The trial judge dismissed Davies claim and the Court of Appeals' majority affirmed. It held that the case must be evaluated as a premises liability claim--even though the realtor was not the owner or possessor of the home--and not as an occupational negligence claim. On that basis, the Appeals Court majority ruled that the realtor owed potential buyers no duty to make an inspection of the property so that potential buyers could be warned of hazardous conditions.
Judge Shapiro concurred in the result only, probably considering Davies' own comparative fault to be so significant as to make his claim untenable in any event. Davies had entered the dark garage with only the illumination of a cell phone and cigarette lighter.